Following the resignation of judge Mark Harmon in July, UN-nominated Michael Bohlander was officially appointed yesterday by the King as the new ECCC co-investigating judge.
Bohlander is filling a position overshadowed by successive resignations widely believed to be related to the politicisation of Cases 003 and 004, which the Cambodian government opposes.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has even suggested that further trials would cause “civil war”.
ECCC spokesperson Lars Olsen said “the court is pursuing all cases”, adding that Bohlander will be investigating the same alleged crime sites and crimes.
Olsen declined to comment on the status of as-yet unexecuted warrants issued by Harmon for suspects in Cases 003 and 004.
Panhavuth Long, of the Cambodian Justice Initiative, said he hopes Bohlander can get to work as soon as possible, but cautioned that “political interference in Cases 003 and 004 is not on the shoulders of the individual judges; it needs to be addressed by the UN and the [Cambodian] government”.
“The very structure of the ECCC requires local cooperation,” he added.
While Long said that each judge “has their integrity”, he emphasised, on behalf of “the victims and the Cambodian people” that “if the judges cannot enforce international standards then we expect honesty from those judges”.